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What led a young Norwegian woman, who grew up with a deep love for the rugged and majestic scenery of her native land, and was educated in its secular, post-Protestant culture, to become a Catholic? This book recounts the various stages of that adventurous journey. Janne Haaland Matlary's love for the unspoiled scenery of her homeland was matched by her passion for research and her joy in exploring areas of knowledge which take us by surprise, forcing us to ask ourselves ever bigger questions. For Janne the many and various questions which presented themselves in the course of her journey converge in a single fundamental question: is it possible to know the truth? Or is everything relative? Eventually the moment came, at Easter 1982, when Janne took the step of converting to the Catholic Church. She was then 25. The knowledge that she had discovered the truth, or rather that it had discovered her - the sense of being taken by surprise - was itself overwhelming. Becoming one with revealed truth was like being touched by and filled with a long-sought-after love.
Truth was revealed in the form of love The whole structure of the faith and of Catholic life are present in the various stages of Janne's journey towards conversion, and through her book, we can, so to speak, learn afresh what it means to be a Catholic. Thanks to this book, it is possible to return to the state of 'first love', to experience once again the greatness and daring of the 'yes' of Catholicism, its vastness, its light, and the joy that strengthens us on the precarious path of faith, and keeps intact the intensity of that first love which alone can show us the way to the summit. That is why I hope this book will have the widest possible distribution. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - from the Preface, written shortly before his election as Pope Benedict XVI Janne Haaland Matlary is professor of international politics at the University of Oslo. An expert in security policy and European politics, she was deputy foreign minister of Norway 1997-2000, and has served as a diplomat for the Holy See at various UN conferences. She is a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Married and with four children, she is a Dame of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.